Work to begin on multi-million pound community hub in York

Work is about to begin on a £4.1 million extension and refurbishment of a hub in the heart of a Yorkshire community.

The Centre @ Burnholme, which is situated in the Heworth area of York, is a focal point for the community and Sewell Construction has been appointed to carry out the 45-week project on behalf of City of York Council.

A new community hall, library and cafe, nursery and meeting spaces will be provided on the former Burnholme Community College site, alongside recording space for Tang Hall SMART, a community-led social enterprise which also works with disadvantaged groups across the wider York area.

A collaboration with employment partner Compass has been created for a recruitment drive to fill any construction roles on site throughout the project with people from the local area.

Now, an earth cutting event has taken place to mark the start of the work and invited guests gathered to hear more about the project which will benefit the local community.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism at City of York Council, said: “It is fantastic to see work to build the Centre @ Burnholme is about to begin. Once completed, this will be a great community facility for everyone, with residents able to access top facilities from a library, café and meeting rooms, to a recording studio and much more.

“The announcement that there will be a recruitment drive so local residents can work on this community project is very welcome and I would urge anyone interested to get in touch.

“The hope is that the Centre @ Burnholme will provide a range of activities, services and opportunities for the community and voluntary sector, all of which will support each other and contribute to improved health and wellbeing for the local community.”

The site is bordered by two schools and Sewell Construction plans to involve pupils and staff in various events, including ground works and plumbing workshops, a spring planting project and site rules and safety workshops.

Key milestones will include building the road within the first 15 weeks, as this will be a key access route for the wider site and surrounding area.

An existing drama block will be demolished in the first two weeks, foundations for the community hub begin at the end of July and the steel frame is expected to be in place by the end of September.

It will be watertight by February 2018 and the main hall will also be refurbished before handover in May 2018.

The extension and refurbishment is part of wider separate plans for the site, which include an 80-bed care home, medical centre, sports facility and a residential development.

A group of eight young people who attend Applefields special school and sessions with Tang Hall SMART performed The Pretender by the Foo Fighters at the earth cutting event.

Sue Williamson, Founder and Managing Director of Tang Hall SMART, said: “These young people symbolise inclusion and social cohesion.

“This new venture is going to give us a chance to really scale up and reach more people. Having something bespoke in such a lovely new building on a site of such historical significance is inspiring for our group.

“Burnholme Community College, which used to be here, was a lovely school and there is a continuity of that on this site. The school started it off and the community hub will create a lasting legacy.”

Mark Dodgson, Sewell Construction Project Manager, said: “We are extremely proud to be working on behalf of City of York Council to deliver the new extension and remodel the old school hall building to create a new community facility for everyone.

“This is a key regeneration site in the area and we are looking forward to working with the local community on this fantastic scheme.

“During the construction period time, the current users of the buildings to the rear of the site – Burnholme Nursery, Tang Hall SMART, York Community Church office and the various sports and activity groups – will remain open, while Hempland Kids Club will also be unaffected by the works.

“We appreciate we will be working in a high traffic and footfall area, especially during school drop off and pick up times. As a result, we will not permit any deliveries to site between 8am-9am and 3pm-4pm.

“Improving local employment is also key to us and our supply chain, so if you, or others you know, are looking for employment opportunities in the construction industry, please contact our employment partner, Compass.”

For further information about potential employment opportunities throughout the scheme, contact Liam Bennett at Compass by e-mailing

View the project here.